Building a Library in Madagascar

My cousin, Corey, is part of the Peace Corps and is currently working in Madagascar.  She’s involved with a really cool project that I wanted her to share, so here’s her guest post:


Hi fellow book lovers! My name is Corey and I am a Peace Corps health volunteer serving in Madagascar and I wanted to tell you about a project I’m working on. I live in a small village on the East coast of Madagascar where I am the only American in my village of 2000 people. My primary project is related to maternal and child health. I spend days weighing babies, talking about nutrition, and teaching about malaria. Although health is my primary focus, almost everyone I meet asks me to teach them English! Which led me to begin a library project…

The village where Corey lives

As one of the poorest countries in the world, with an average income of $1.00 per day, finding decent-conditioned English books is extremely hard to come by, if even possible at all. So I have joined forces with 18 other volunteers to try to make a small dent in this big problem.

I grew up with books all around, as I’m sure many people reading this blog did! There were books in our bedrooms, in the kitchen, in the car, at the doctor’s office…Shelves and shelves of books at school, textbooks for every class, a library in every school, a public library down the street…As you can see, there was no shortage of books in my life. Even the tiny liberal arts school where I went to college had a library of 467,989 books. Yet the only books in my community are a few family bibles. Schools do not have textbooks. Libraries are unheard of. And if you hand a child a picture book, many wouldn’t know what to do with it. How do you hold it? How do you turn the pages without damaging the book? These are things I never, ever, considered…until I moved to Madagascar. Books play such a large role in my life and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

So I’m working with a group of 18 other volunteers in collaboration with the NGO Books for Africa to start 18 libraries across the country. We will receive a shipping container (22,000 books!) full of books. Each library will vary by size and location, but my library will be in an old building that was once designated as a “library,” but in reality, sits with empty shelves.  But not for long! With eighteen communities receiving roughly 1000 English books, we hope to bring the joy of reading and the love of books to our friends in Madagascar!

If you would like to support the work of the Books for Africa NGO, visit their website at!

Thank you for the fabulous post, Corey!!!!

And like always,

Thanks for reading,



13 thoughts on “Building a Library in Madagascar

    • Even in our country, a lot of children start school not knowing how to hold a book. One of the first things you do with a K kid is give them a book and ask them where the cover is and ask them how to “read” it. They mainly can’t read the book, but the kids who have been read to know how a book “works” and will be able to tell you where the cover is, and how the book opens and what order a book goes in.

      It’s so great that Corey’s doing all of the Peace Corps stuff and helping those without get libraries and books!


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